Thursday, January 24, 2008


The first State Senate Budget Committee hearing on Governor Jon Corzine’s Financial Restructuring and Debt Reduction plan was held Wednesday (1/23). The scheme includes an 800% toll hike schedule by 2022 and if approved, would be in place for 75 years. You might think freshman Senators sitting in on the first Budget hearing would be very interested in finding out all they can about the plan or at least giving the impression that they really care. Not so much, at least for one side of the political aisle.

By the time the hearing came to a close, State Senator Barbara Buono, the newly named chairperson of the panel was the lone Democrat left to hear what the public had to say. Democratic Senators, Steve Sweeney (Majority Leader), Joe Vitale, Brian Stack, Theresa Ruiz, Dana Redd, Sandra Cunningham and Shirley Turner were all gone. To her credit, Turner was at least still in the building and Ruiz evidently had to leave to attend an event for Hillary Clinton. Stack, Ruiz, Redd and Cunningham were all attending their first Senate Budget Committee hearing as members of the Upper House.

Some might argue that a five hour hearing is a bit too long. The GOP members of the panel all stayed until the bitter end.

Another side note from the hearing: Corzine’s chief of staff, Brad Abelow was getting grilled by Democrats and Republicans about why a bill backing up the plan doesn’t exist yet. Abelow repeatedly told them it is being vetted and will be introduced as soon as possible. When Turner kept prodding Abelow about why a hearing was scheduled without legislation to consider, Abelow finally said, “I didn’t call for this hearing, you did.” To which Turner responded, “I didn’t call for this hearing either.”

Buono scheduled the hearing, got as much out of it as possible, more than held her own in her first meeting as chairperson, said she learned a lot and that is really what she was hoping for.


Anonymous said...

The arrogance of our Public servants is appalling. They are in denial that the public is against this toll plan!!! The Star ledger should have an 800 number to let the NJ public call in & protest this, I would bet the results against would be staggering!!!!!!! Time to send the knuckle heads in Trenton on a permenant vacation.

These guys make the Mafia look like girl scouts!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

You can call the Senate Majority Leader at 1-609-292-5215 they are taking a poll to see how many people are mad as hell about this!